A Florida pre-teen was found dead in her home in Glades, Florida on January 10. The alleged culprits in the case, two middle-schoolers, are facing cyberstalking charges after one of their classmates, Gabriella Green, took her own life after being harassed on the internet through various social media platforms.
Cyberbullying, as defined by the United State Government, is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Essentially, the term “cyberbullying” describes the act of harassing, threatening or intimidating another individual via electronic means such as by use of cell phones, computers, tablets, and social media platforms.
Cyberbullying is illegal in Florida as well as in states across the country and can result in criminal charges. Generally speaking, cyberbullying is a crime most prominent among young adults, teenagers, and preteens. It is a crime of the generation; social media platforms are becoming increasingly popular “weapons” for teenagers to bully one another.
Before her suicide, Green was allegedly receiving a number of threatening and harassing text messages from two individuals at school; Green was home after being suspended from school for being involved in a physical altercation with other classmates. Following the suicide and concurrent with the police investigation, police officers learned of:
- The text messages from the two students (unidentified due to their age) to Green
- Rumors of Green having contracted sexually transmitted diseases
- Name calling and threats, both physical of nature and to expose personal information of her
Due to the age of the victim and the defendants’ involved in this case, a major question lies in how cases of such nature should be prosecuted. In an effort to combat such behavior, many wonder if criminal prosecution is the most efficient way to reduce cyberbullying amongst adolescents.
In relation to this case, Massachusetts also had a groundbreaking cyberbullying case; Michelle Carter’s trial for her role in Conrad Roy’s suicide went underway this past summer. Carter was a teenager at the time she allegedly sent texts to her boyfriend, Conrad Roy, encouraging him to commit suicide. She stood trial and was sentenced to 2.5 years in the house of corrections for involuntary manslaughter, with 15 months to be served and the rest suspended, followed by five years of probation.
Similar to Greens suicide, Conrad Roy had little personal interaction with Michelle Carter; all of the bullying was done through text messages and by use of social media platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram.
In Green’s suicide, police did come out and say that the investigation underway has revealed that the bullying was not the only factor leading to her death. In Florida, The Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act, requires that school districts adopt an official policy prohibiting bullying and harassment of students at school, during school events, or through social media. You can read more about Gabriella Green’s story here.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a cyberbullying case, it is imperative you consider contacting a DelSignore Law attorney today. If a juvenile is found guilty of cyberbullying, they could face life-altering penalties for such crime. Contact us today.